2013 Fairfield co-op volleyball preview

Fairfield's Alec Gropman sets the ball during the coop boys volleyball game against Bassick at Fairfield Ludlowe on Monday, May 2, 2011.
Fairfield's Alec Gropman sets the ball during the coop boys volleyball game against Bassick at Fairfield Ludlowe on Monday, May 2, 2011.Amy Mortensen/ST

For the first time since 2009, the Fairfield co-op volleyball team enters its season with high expectations.

Fairfield finished 11-8 in 2012, narrowly missing the FCIAC Tournament. With five-returning "standout players," coach Garrett Covino expects his squad to compete.

"The FCIAC will definitely be an interesting league this year," he said. "I think we are going to surprise some teams."

Fairfield loses its four-year starter, and two-time all-FCIAC and all-state player Sal Siciliano. Still, three-year starter Alec Gropman will look to pick up the slack. Gropman, along with Emilio Renzulli, Chris Sanfilippo, Brand Lopes and Mike Wagner, will lead Fairfield.

That bunch will have a different style, according to Covino.

"This year, we have a crop of players that will look to do what needs to be done with consistency, skill and finesse instead of power," he said.

Fairfield's been rebuilding since falling to Staples in 2009's FCIAC final. Last year was the first time Fairfield qualified for states since that 2009 season, and Covino is hopeful his experienced club can build off that success.

"We will be looking to return to the show this year," he said, referencing the state tournament. "We are looking to make a strong showing to rise again into the FCIAC top four."

ppickens@bcnnew.com; twitter.com/Pat_Pickens

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